Facebook can be a useful way for lawyers to extend their reach to potential clients and connect with others. It’s not surprising that many lawyers choose to set up a business page for their law firm. It seems like a natural choice: you’re running a business — why not have a business page?
But there are downsides to focusing solely on a Facebook business page to try and reach potential clients. Here are three reasons a Facebook business page alone may not drive the traffic and connections that you’re looking for as an attorney.
Clients follow people and brands, not your law firm.
People follow people and brands, and they do that for two different reasons. The reason why people follow people on Facebook is for a personal connection or to be entertained, and sometimes both. People tend to post personal stories, pictures, interesting articles, and of course, the occasional cat video. People connect with people because they like things that are relatable, shocking, or just fun to look at.
People follow brands for different reasons. People follow brands on Facebook and other social media platforms because they’re looking for promotions and discounts, the latest information on products, customer service, and the ability to offer feedback. It’s not quite in line with what a law firm does. That’s one reason why a Facebook business page might not be the right venue to connect with potential clients.
Additionally, we must consider that when a potential client seeks an attorney, they’re not just looking for a lawyer. They’re looking for a person who’s also very good at practicing the law. Business pages can sap the human element from an otherwise fantastic attorney — and the human element is an important dimension of your practice.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve liked a business page out of politeness or boredom, and, guess what? I’ve never been back to see it. However, one thing that I do see all the time are the updates that my friends and family members post on their personal pages, even when that’s related to their careers — and I’m always surprised and happy to see what they’re working on. While you may be reticent to mix business with the pleasure of personal social media — I get that it seems a little counterintuitive — it’s a strategy that may benefit you in terms of demonstrating to potential clients that your practice matters to you, and especially for the next reason I’m about to list.
Potential clients may not see you — even if they “like” your law firm’s Facebook page.
Let’s assume for a moment that you’re a content-focused attorney who regularly posts new information to your Facebook business page. If you had to guess, what percentage of the people that “like” your business page actually see what you post there? 50 percent? 30 percent? Statistically speaking, the number is much smaller than that: According to Facebook itself, pages organically reach about 16 percent of fans on average. That statistic was presented in 2012. Four years later, I wouldn’t be surprised if that number was even smaller.
The number might be surprising, but the reason isn’t all that shocking: Facebook is a business, and that means they’re trying to generate revenue. One way they do that is by encouraging you to pay to promote posts — posts that would likely reach more people organically in their news feeds if they were posted to a personal page.
Sure, you could pay Facebook to “boost” your posts, but is that advertising money well spent? The better way is this: write high-quality content for your law firm’s blog and website — the content that answers what your potential clients wonder about — and promote it for free on social media in the right way, so you’ll reach more people. And that means you may want to think about that personal page. You’ll also want to think about other free platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Don’t feel pressured to put all of your marketing eggs in one basket. Diversifying your reach can help you reach more potential clients.
Your law firm’s Facebook page isn’t giving potential clients what they want.
Do you have 500 “likes” on your law firm’s business page? If only those “likes” were equivalent to engagement — because that’s the thing you’re really looking for. The more you can engage a potential client — whether that’s creating a lively discussion in the comment section of your law firm’s blog or in Facebook comments — you’re more likely to have a potential client that decides to engage your firm over any other.
Among the best ways to engage a potential client is to give them what they’re looking for: quality content that answers their questions, laid out in a way that’s easy to digest and understand. That doesn’t have to be boring at all: clients are much more likely to engage with posts that shock them, surprise them, and entertain them, and there are plenty of good ways to do that, all while providing significant, useful information about their case or problem. Content that fits into these categories increases its shareability — another key factor in engagement.
As an example, the other day I stumbled across a blog post from a law firm. Total accident. The topic was whether a child can get in trouble with the law by making prank calls in California. Do I have children? No. Did I still get sucked into this blog post? Yes. It wasn’t a particularly long post by any means, but it surprised me enough to read on. I walked away from it learning something new about a subject I hadn’t even considered before.
Let’s suppose I’m your potential client. I have a child who’s gotten themselves into trouble on the telephone. You’re the attorney who’s written that blog post — and it answers the questions I have about my child’s misbehavior and what could happen next. Whether I find that blog post through a search engine or in a link on your Facebook post, I’m likely to read it and reach out to your firm.
While I mentioned earlier that people follow brands on Facebook for reasons that don’t relate to law firms, there’s still some information here for attorneys, especially when it comes to why people unfollow brands.
Here’s what tops the list: In a recent study from Hubspot, nearly a quarter of those surveyed said they’d unfollow a brand if the content they post is “repetitive or boring.” Nearly a fifth said they’d unfollow a brand if they “post too frequently (more than 6 times daily)”. That’s not all: a quarter of those surveyed said they’ve unfollowed a brand in the last month.
So, as an attorney, what can you take away from that data? Aside from re-thinking your business page, consider pacing your posts. You may have a lot to say, but if people feel overwhelmed by what you’re putting out there, they may disengage entirely. Secondly, be different. Your unique selling proposition as an attorney is important, but so is the uniqueness of your posts. Look to capture your audience’s attention. What will surprise them? What will shock them? Lastly, don’t forget to engage with the social media community yourself. Social media isn’t a bubble. Whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or all three, liking, sharing, and commenting on the posts of others helps you network with potential clients and referral sources — and it helps to establish you as a leader in your practice, too. What’s not to “like” about that?